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What would be a typical number of photos?

Sandy Vongries

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"Run and gun" doesn't work at weddings.  The culling/editing will kill you and it isn't needed.  

Learn to shoot to capture the expressions.  Practice.

When I first started shooting weddings (1996), I shot with an RB-67 and the studio I worked for promised 140 proofs to choose from.  They used to complain when I came back with 180.  When I moved on to shoot for myself, I usually came back with about 400-500 images (on film).  Keep in mind, every shot COST me one dollar for file, processing and a 4x5 inch proof.  

As I moved to digital, the number grew from about 600 to about 1200 for most jobs.  Today, I rarely go over about 1000.  Clients don't want to go through that many images.  

One studio that I worked with promised, in their advertising, 600 pictures.  They sent to shoot a wedding at a small venue.  There was no bridal party, only about 25 guests and, although there was a DJ, NOBODY on the dance floor all afternoon.  The groom had no patience for pictures and was not cooperative at all.  I came back with about 400 images, many of them showing the entire room at the reception with nothing happening.  Two weeks later, the bride wrote a complain letter to the studio about the number of pictures.  I think that they were forced to give her a few hundred dollars back.  After that, the shooters there made CERTAIN to come up with 600 until they removed the number from their literature.  I remember shooting 75 pictures of the empty dance floor or shooting 20 of each bridal party pose at small events.

At no time, did I even work toward or offer my clients any maximum or minimum number.  What I always told clients was, "I shoot what's required to cover your wedding.  I can't promise that I will shoot 500 images at a small event and I can't limit myself 1000 at a huge event."  

Shoot what you need.  Don't overshoot any one thing.  People notice.  But, make sure that you have a picture of everything that anyone paid for.  Food, flowers, details on dresses, invitations, church programs, kids in tuxes, rings, ice sculptures, limos . . . 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I shoot until I’m done or it’s over. When two of us are shooting most of the day we total about 1100 or so, much more than the film days. I don’t want to edit that many and no one wants to look at that many but absolutely EVERYONE gets photographed at least once. Honestly though I enjoyed using an RB67 and taking a little more time and care and I think the setup stuff, portraits and groups, were better.


Rick H.

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